Why Labor Backs ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and Why Labor Is Wrong


An article in the Wall Street Journal by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry (October 8, 2o011) deserves a paragraph by paragraph, thought by thought response. I will do so by including all of her commentary with my own commentary interspersed; she is wrong and deceptive at almost every point.

The images of row upon row of stoic airline pilots, fed-up students and thousands of Americans marching through downtown Manhattan have captivated the nation.

Yes, we’ve seen them block traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, confront police and defecate on police cars, invading and attempting to shut down the Harte Senate Office Building in DC (at least they have the right target) and invade the Aerospace Museum in Washington DC.

Seemingly overnight, the organic , scrappy protests in the financial center of the world have blossomed into a national movement from Chicago to Los Angeles, calling attention to the gross inequality in our society and the unwillingness of our politicians to correct this imbalance.

Glenn Beck has put the lie to  this claim by showing videos of union leaders planning such a mob months before the breakout of the mobs. Before you discount Beck, know that he has a good solid investigative record on folks such as these “occupy” leaders and predicting outcomes. A prophet?  No, but pretty darn good at paying attention and informing those who will listen.

The Occupy Wall Street actions are a potent example of what is happening across our country as the anger and frustration of ordinary Americans builds. While the media and pundits obsess over what the Occupy Wall Street protesters want, the protesters have already succeeded in shaking our conscience as a nation and forcing a national conversation about everything that is wrong with our economy.

Many of the rank and file in these mobs are young idealists, but there are so many others who align with Marx, Lenin, William Aires, Bernadine Dornan, Abbie Hoffman, Mao, Tom Hayden, George Soros and others who have not only advocated violent revolution, but have actually brought it about. So many of these protesters are not ordinary Americans, and Ms. Henry knows this.

The hard truth is that things are pretty lousy for most Americans right now. And while students, seniors and workers didn’t cause our economic collapse, we’re the ones paying the price.

Here I can agree to some extent  with Ms. Henry.

It’s been three years since Wall Street CEOs crashed our economy. When Wall Street was on its knees, the American taxpayers came to their rescue with trillions of dollars in bailouts and promise from the big banks that they’d invest in our recovery.

Wall Street CEOs did not crash our economy! This is such a flagrant lie and deception. When the economy started crashing in late 2008 I had already lost my job; we were losing our home in San Diego because one of these Wall Street “Monsters” Archstone, bought the land under our homes for building an apartment complex. We fought this at City Hall and in the streets, but at no time did I consider Archstone  to be evil in what they were doing; and of course the stock market crash took away 22% of our retirement nest egg and here I was at 64 years old.
I determined that I would find the truth in this economic calamity, and believe it or not, the truth was not hard to find; it begins in the Democratic Congress of the 1990s and the Community Reinvestment Act which set the stage for all of the sub-prime mortgages, the “liars” loans where borrowers who could not afford the loans could actually lie about there financial status and get away with it. At the end of it, banks were required to set aside a large percentage of mortgage funds (up to 55% at the end)  for low income loans; a noble idea and goal, but one resulting in the crash of the mortgage industry. It continued with quasi-government Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slicing and dicing these loans into Mortgage Backed Securities.  It continued with the three quasi-government rating agencies S&P, Moody and Fitch failing in their ratings responsibilities and marking these sub-primes as AAA.
By the time this chain of events percolated to the Investment community, the banks themselves became victims by buying investment grade securities  rated at AAA that were actually junk.
So yes, Wall Street contributed to the collapse, but the real culprit were folks like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the rest of the then Democratic Congress; Jim Johnson, a wheeler and dealer Democrat CEO of Fannie Mae and others of like ilk. Read “Reckless Endangerment” for the whole sad story.

Instead, the banks used our hard earned tax dollars to enrich themselves. They robbed millions of Americans of their jobs and their livelihoods. They refuse to invest in the small businesses that drive American growth. And they continue to kick us  while we’re down by foreclosing on millions of families.

Listen to American business men like the two founders of Home Depot, the CEO of Starbucks, Steve Wynne of Las Vegas fame, Jack Welch the ex CEO of GE,  Harvey Golub, former chairman of American Express, calling the “jobs” bill an incoherent mess, and others who actually create jobs and see if they are blaming Wall Street and the banks. They are not, but rather pointing a very sharp finger at Barak Obama and his progressive czarist regulators. And how many of these foreclosures are on loans of the sub-prime type.
And yes Ms. Henry some of us ‘students, seniors and workers did cause our economic collapse’ because of our reckless personal borrowing.

Today, the richest 5% of the population holds 72% of the wealth in our country. We have 25 million Americans looking for full-time work. And those  Americans lucky enough to have a job have seen their hours slashed and their benefits cut. I recently met a worker in Chicago who told me he’s been forced to
feed his family by foraging for food in the dumpsters behind the grocery store
by his house. Not because he’s out of work but because his hours had been cut
back and there simply wasn’t enough money to keep a roof over his family’s head,
pay the electric bill, and put food on the table every night.

Yes and much of that wealth was created by people with good ideas willing to take risks with their lives and what little money they had when they created their business. People like Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple getting fabulously rich but creating millions of jobs along the way and wealth for many others as well. Or how about the story of the fellow that started the company I worked for for so some years; Walter Zabel started Cubic Corporation  in 1951 and is still President and CEO at the age of 96, all the while providing jobs for many thousands as well as producing products such as the ticketing systems that most of these occupiers use in the subways of New York. And, by the way, all without unions.

We demonize these job producers at our own peril.

We have an entire generation of young people who were promised good jobs if they worked hard, played by the rules and attended college. They kept their end of the bargain and when they graduated they were left with no job prospects and a record amount of debt.

How is it that so many people still work their way through college incurring little debt along the way. When I got off active duty from the Navy in 1966  married with a young two year old son, my wife took a job as a key punch operator (data entry) and put me through college. Two years at the local junior college and then 2 more at the local state college. I had the GI Bill money coming in which was vital, but back in 1966-1970 we didn’t know of such things as student loans. A good part of that time we had no car and traveled by bicycle or bus. I don’t remember being “promised a good job”, but as it turned out I did get a good job out of college, a job at an American corporation, and as the years unfolded several other good jobs, all with American corporations and all without the help of unions by the way which were non-existent in my industry.

Americans watched in horror this spring as Republican politicians held our country hostage during the debt-ceiling debate to win harmful cuts to our communities and more tax breaks for millionaires. And this week House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor again turned their backs on the American people by refusing to even bring the American Jobs Act up for a vote.

Well good for you Ms. Henry, you didn’t accuse the Tea Party of hostage taking this time. But wrong again on the Republican Party. The Republicans in Congress and the Tea Party are trying to reign in the massive and accelerating national debt which will bury us all if not stopped. Debt of this magnitude can and does kill nations and it’s time Ms. Henry and others on the left realize this and help fix the problem before it kills this nation.

The anger of the American people has been brewing for quite some time, and now that it’s boiled over there’s no bottling it up. The importance of Occupy Wall Street can’t be measured by any set of demands. What’s more important to understand are the values that unite the protesters and their authentic
understanding of what has gone wrong in our economy.

Authentic understanding? Hopefully they will come to an authentic understanding of who it really is that is manipulation their bunch of “Useful Idiots”. Folks like George Soros and union leaders from SEIU.

We can begin to right the wrongs of our economy and respond to the growing
demands of the American people by putting our country back to work and by holding Wall Street and big corporations accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted on us all.

Corporate greed is the theme of the occupiers. Why then have we recently seen the following from the world of “CORPORATE GREED”:

  • The near bankruptcy of General Motors just a few short years ago.
  • The near bankruptcy of General Motors just a few short years ago.
  • The bankruptcies of: Gottshalks, Goody’s, Circuit City, Bosvov’s Department Stores, Mervyn’s, Linens ‘n Things, KB Toys, Wolverine Tube Inc, Ambac Financial Group, American Media (National Enquirer) and others.
  • Bank of America recently laying off 35,000 employees.
  • Bankruptcy of Solyndra in spite of massive government aide.

Doesn’t it seem that there is something working here other than simply “corporate greed”? Can all of these greedy corporations have gone out of business because they have made too much money? Think people! Think! Don’t Go Lazy On Me, get the facts.

And how about the greed of a national government that has placed its citizens and future generations in debt to the tune of $15,000,000,000,000 and counting?

When Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz was asked what one demand on Washington the Occupy Wall Street protesters should make right now, he didn’t hesitate a moment before saying: create jobs.

Duh!

We can’t begin to fix what is wrong with our economy without creating good jobs. We have work that needs doing in this country and millions of Americans  looking for full-time work. It’s time to put the two together to make America a stronger nation. And it’s time to use the money being made on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms across the country to put Americans back to work.

These corporate boardrooms are what is keeping people working right now and have been for over 200 years, all across America. Only you worthless union leaders who produce nothing seem not to understand that.

Congress can begin by passing the American Jobs Act and immediately put
Americans to work rebuilding our outdated and dangerous roads and bridges and
ensuring our kids have first-class schools. We can invest in our communities to keep teachers in our classrooms, police on the beat, health-care workers at our hospitals and clinics, and ensure that we have enough firefighters to protect our communities.

Sounds good, but are you just feathering your own greedy nest here Ms. Henry? Are not “teachers in our classrooms, police on the beat, health-care workers at our hospitals and clinics, and ensure that we have enough firefighters” your core constituencies who provide the bulk of your greedy union wealth?

The 2.1 million nurses, janitors, school-bus drivers and other members of the Service Employees International Union stand arm in arm with the peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors. While unions cannot claim credit for Occupy Wall Street, SEIU members are joining the protesters in the streets because we are united in
the belief that our country needs a change.

Previous comment applies here as well.

Nobody can predict what’s next for the Occupy Wall Street movement. And no one institution or person should try to exert their pressure on this inspiring collective of people.

Oh boy! Yes, it can be predicted where this movement may lead. What with all of the demonizing going on along with a worsening economy it is not hard to picture a day when mobs start searching out the “1%” and the Tea Partiers  with a vengeance. That day will bring blood in the streets and neighborhoods burned to the ground. I pray that will not happen, but history does not make me optimistic in the outcome.

The importance of the Occupy Wall Street protests lies in the simple fact that all it takes is a small group of courageous people to light a spark and forever change the arc of history. The auto workers in Flint, Mich., lit that spark in the 1930s through their sit-down strikes and forever changed American industry. The civil-rights activists lit that spark when their sit-ins forced us
to confront the racial inequality that poisoned our nation.

I’m tiered of  responding to this crap so read on. I’m done!!

We saw that spark in Tahrir Square and across the Middle East this Arab Spring as a few brave people inspired millions of fed-up citizens to challenge
their governments and demand better lives. It’s what I’ve witnessed for the past 30 years as a union organizer watching working people stick their necks out and stand publicly for a union to win a chance at a better life for themselves and their families.

And it’s what countless Americans see in this growing Occupy Wall Street movement. They see the opportunity to restore the very American notion that each of our citizens deserves a shot at reaching his or her own dreams, of finding a good job, and leaving the next generation better off.

The people are finally speaking. Now it’s up to our leaders and CEOs to listen and respond.

Ms. Henry is president of the Service Employees International Union

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